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An otherworldly extravaganza

SAN MATEO, Calif.--From the size of the crowd at Maker Faire today, it's clear the world has a growing appetite for DIY innovation. More than 100,000 people were expected for the sixth annual event, taking place at the San Mateo County Event Center this weekend.

A diverse mix of science, engineering, design, and art--with everything from robots to knitting to exploding soda to steam rollers--Maker Faire is an otherworldly extravaganza that attracts kids and adults, leaving both wide-eyed at the marvelous maker creations.

Where else can you see four very realistic beeping R2D2s twirling around through gawking crowds?
Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Zachary Coffin's 'Colossus of Rhodes'

Zachary Coffin's "Colossus of Rhodes" is an amazing cross between engineering and art, with 15 tons of steel and 20 tons of granite suspended in a delicate balance, turning gracefully on its bearings.
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See-saw water pump

Many sights at the Maker Faire mix art, science, or engineering with playful games, like this see-saw, which pumps water up a spout and sends it down a spiral waterfall.
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Granite monolith

Turning nature into a playground, this massive spinning granite monolith has kids giggling.
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DIY shelter

DIY shelters, from geodesic domes to handmade tents, dot the main green at Maker Faire. This innovative plywood longhouse from Shelter 2.0 is but one example.
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Train rides

Train rides through the festival grounds give visitors an overview of the goings-on.
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Glowing cactus

Inside, this glowing inflatable-cacti field creates an alien landscape.
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Ken Murphy's installation

Ken Murphy's installation gives a time-lapse visualization of the sky for an entire year. An image of the sky was captured every 10 seconds, and time-lapse movies are assembled to reveal mosaic patterns of weather and time.
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Tap Tap Animation

Tap Tap Animation is an experimental interactive installation that allows the user to activate binary pixels, and turn lights on and off.
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Michael Christian's 14-foot-tall illuminated globe

Michael Christian's 14-foot-tall illuminated globe, "Home," rotates on an axis that's tilted in the same way as the Earth's, and the sculpture spills its light out into the darkened expo hall.
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Backpack-mounted Tesla coil

This backpack-mounted Tesla coil has kids chasing it around, touching their fluorescent lights to its sparking dome, illuminating the bulbs into a colorful array.
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Scott Harris' digital color organs

Scott Harris' digital color organs produce audio-reactive light displays.
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The "Get Over It!" game

In the "Get Over It!" game, two teams pit their robots against each other to score points by collecting batons.
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Master sand artist David Alcala

Master sand artist David Alcala performs his colorful sand artistry at Maker Faire on Saturday.
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Big Wheels

You've heard of Big Wheels, but this four wheeler is a big wheel of a different kind, carrying four passengers on its oversize frame, and looking more like an old car than a bike.
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This is a tricycle unlike any other. With two seats, the homemade machine is half old-timey bike and half motorcycle, with a sidecar for a passenger.
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The Whiskeydrome bike velodrome is a wacky circus of cyclery that has riders becoming nearly horizontal as they speed around its banked walls.
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Water swing

Perfect for a hot day, these swings use their motion to pump water, and create a waterfall that falls from above.
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Fire Jam

A hack of Guitar Hero, Fire Jam sets balls of flames into the air as you play the guitar, creating a symphony of flames.
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Steam roller

Watch out, Buffalo Springfield, the steam powered steam roller is slowly chugging through the crowd.
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Bouncing bike

This big-wheeled bouncing bike is powered by the vertical motion of the rider, just bounce and go!
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More than 100,000 expected to attend

With more than 100,000 expected to attend this year's Maker Faire, these cupcake mobiles will have to watch out!

Maker Faire continues through Sunday, but get there early, the crowds are massive and parking is awful. The San Mateo fairgrounds are packed with cupcakes, robots, steam rollers, and all kinds of innovative bikes.
Photo by: James Martin/CNET


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